WINNIPEG - Winnipeg fire officials said the blaze that destroyed a warehouse full of fuel Monday night did $15 million damage.
disaster could be seen across the city and live television coverage
made headlines around the world. A huge fireball that shot hundreds of
feet in the air was caused by the explosion of a tanker truck full of
methanol, officials said Tuesday.
A foam-spewing military
fire fighting truck was brought in from Winnipeg’s airport to try and
douse the huge blaze at Speedway International on Nicolas Avenue, near
the intersection of Archibald and Marion Streets.
The fire began
shortly after 5 pm, with a huge pall of black smoke towering over east
Winnipeg. About an hour later, a fireball billowed hundreds of feet into
the air in an explosion seen and heard across the city.
Monday night, an evacuation zone 800 metres all around the fire scene
had been established. No injuries were reported, but residents with
respiratory problems were urged to stay indoors and close their
Evacuation orders in the area were lifted around 1 am.
The owner of Speedway International, Royce Rostecki, was already at home when the fire started. A relative of Rostecki’s tells Global News the plant normally shuts down between four and five p.m.
CN and CP rail were alerted to the massive blaze close to the rail
lines that run north-south through the area. Fire crews were rail cars
next to Speedway International as a preventative measure. At one point
they moved back to about 600 metres.
Speedway International stores 170,000 litres of methanol, 400,000 litres of racing gas, and 300,000 litres of biodiesel.
roadways in the surrounding area have been closed to all traffic,"
Winnipeg police said in a statement. "As a result of the fire, some
evacuations in the immediate area have already occurred."
Police were also warning people who might be tempted to come out and watch the fire to stay home.
personnel have noted that some members of the public have made their
way toward the scene due to curiosity. These individuals are requested
to leave the area immediately."
Witnesses said they could feel heat on their faces from blocks away.
International says its Pro Comp racing methanol can be shipped
throughout North America in sealed 55-gallon drums via tank trucks and
"Pro Comp racing methanol will provide more horsepower,
more torque and longer engine life than any other industrial grade or
off-spec methanol," the company says on its website.
It says the fuel is used for drag racing and Indy car racing.
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